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Multistate Outbreaks of Salmonella Infections Associated with Raw Tomatoes Eaten in Restaurants --- United States, 2005--2006

CDC warns of Salmonella risk from tomatoes

Source of Article:
Sep 6, 2007 (CIDRAP News) ? Consumers should take precautions to limit their risk of contracting Salmonella infections from raw tomatoes, which may have sickened more than 79,000 people in a dozen outbreaks since 1990, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. In an analysis of four recent multistate Salmonella outbreaks linked to tomatoes served in restaurants, the CDC advises, among other things, that cut tomatoes should be refrigerated within 2 hours. The analysis was published in the Sep 7 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The article says that at least 12 multistate Salmonella outbreaks linked to tomatoes have been reported to the CDC since 1990, causing about 1,990 confirmed illness cases. Because more than 97% of Salmonella infections are not confirmed by culture, "these outbreaks might have resulted in as many as 79,600 illnesses," the CDC states. The report describes four salmonellosis outbreaks associated with restaurant tomatoes that involved 459 culture-confirmed cases in 21 states in 2005 and 2006. Most of the affected states were in the East and Midwest. None of the cases were fatal. From July to November 2005, 72 confirmed cases associated with the same strain of Salmonella Newport (matched by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) were identified in 16 states. Eight patients were hospitalized. A case-control study indicated that illness was associated with eating raw, large, round tomatoes at restaurants, but no single restaurant or chain was implicated. Investigators concluded that the contaminated tomatoes had been grown at two farms on the eastern shore of Virginia. The outbreak strain was found in irrigation pond water near tomato fields in the region.

In the second outbreak, 82 cases featuring the same strain of Salmonella Braenderup were identified in eight states in November and December 2005. Eighteen patients were hospitalized. A case-control study pointed to a particular chain restaurant where patients had eaten raw, diced Roma tomatoes, the report says. The tomatoes had been grown in one of two fields in Florida and were diced and packaged at a firm in Kentucky before being shipped to the restaurant. Investigators found Salmonella in environmental samples from the Florida farm, but it was not the outbreak strain.
A third outbreak involved 115 cases confirmed between July and November of 2006 in 19 states. The cases, which caused eight hospitalizations, featured the same strain of Salmonella Newport as the 2005 outbreak. Again, a case-control study pointed to raw tomatoes eaten in restaurants as the likely cause, but no single restaurant or chain was implicated. The source of the tomatoes was not determined.
The fourth outbreak featured 190 confirmed cases from 21 states in September and October of 2006, all involving the same strain of Salmonella Typhimurium, with 24 patients hospitalized. As evidenced by a case-control study, cases were linked with eating large, round tomatoes at a restaurant.
The implicated tomatoes were traced to one packing house in Ohio that handled tomatoes from 25 fields. The production season had ended by the time the facility was implicated, so the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) waited until this year to investigate the situation. The investigation was completed in August, but the results were not included in the CDC report.
The CDC says the widely dispersed nature of the four outbreaks suggests that contamination occurred early in the distribution chain, such as at the farm or packing facility, rather than in restaurants. "These recurrent multistate outbreaks indicate that the tomato-growing environment is an ongoing source of contamination of tomatoes," the report says.

Exactly how tomatoes get contaminated is not known, but experiments have pointed to several possibilities, the report states. For example, tomatoes can absorb Salmonella when they are immersed in water that's cooler than the tomatoes, according to one study. Another study indicated that tomatoes can become internally contaminated when stems and flowers of the plants are inoculated with Salmonella from contaminated water.

Further, cutting can transfer contamination from the skin of a tomato to the interior, and cut tomatoes provide a good medium for bacterial growth, the CDC says.

The agency offers the following tips for consumers:

Don't buy bruised or damaged tomatoes.
Wash all tomatoes thoroughly just before eating.
Refrigerate cut, peeled, or cooked tomatoes within 2 hours, or discard them.
Separate cut tomatoes from raw, unwashed produce items, raw meats, and raw seafood.
The 2007 FDA Food Code has been amended to specify that cut, peeled, or processed tomatoes must be refrigerated, the article says.

Salmonella From Raw Tomatoes Has Sickened Thousands, Still a Serious Threat
Date Published: Friday, September 7th, 2007
Source of Article:
Raw tomatoes could have caused as many as 79,000 cases of Salmonella poisoning since1990. That disturbing conclusion comes from an analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of 12 multi-state Salmonella outbreaks associated with raw tomatoes reported to the agency since 1990. Now the CDC is warning consumers to take precautions to protect themselves from the deadly food-borne bacteria.

The CDC analysis found that those 12 tomato Salmonella outbreaks were linked to a total of 1900 confirmed illnesses. But because more than 97-percent of all Salmonella infections are not confirmed by lab tests, the CDC estimates that the true number is closer to 79,000. Four of the 12 Salmonella incidents were traced to fresh tomatoes served by restaurants. The restaurant outbreaks resulted in 459 confirmed Salmonella cases in 21 states between 2005 and 2006. Unfortunately, the CDC was only able to definitively determine the source of one of those restaurant-related outbreaks. That incident occurred from July to November 2005, and sickened at least 72 people in 16 states. The illnesses were all traced to restaurant tomatoes grown on two farms in Eastern Virginia, where the outbreak Salmonella strain was found in irrigation pond water near the tomato fields. In the other three restaurant Salmonella outbreaks, the CDC was unable to pinpoint exactly where the tomatoes became contaminated. However, because these Salmonella outbreaks spanned so many states, the CDC has concluded that the bacterial contamination occurred early in the distribution chain, either at farms or packing facilities, rather than at the restaurants themselves.

While raw tomatoes are an ideal vehicle for transferring Salmonella bacteria, the CDC says that there are steps consumers can take to protect themselves from illness. Cutting tomatoes can transfer Salmonella from the skin to the tomato¡¯s flesh, and cut tomatoes make an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. For that reason, peeled, cut or cooked tomatoes should be refrigerated within two hours to inhibit bacterial growth. Tomatoes that have been left out longer than two hours should be thrown away. Bruised or damaged tomatoes should be avoided, and all tomatoes must be washed thoroughly right before they are eaten. Also cut tomatoes should be kept away from raw, unwashed produce, raw meats and raw seafood.

Salmonella is a potentially deadly type of food poisoning, symptoms of which included fever, abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of exposure, and usually last four to seven days. In very severe cases, Salmonella can lead to kidney failure and other complications. Salmonella can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Some victims of Salmonella will develop a disease called Reiter¡¯s Syndrome, a difficult- to- treat condition that causes severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. Reiter¡¯s Syndrome can plague its victims for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis. In addition to tomatoes, Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to contaminated peanut butter, pet food, snack mix and other produce

St. Johns County Faced With Shigella Outbreak
September 6, 2007
Source of Article:

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- An infectious disease that has begun to spread rapidly in the St. Johns County community prompted health officials to remind people to do something that should be second nature -- wash your hands.
The Health Department said it wants to protect people from shigella, which is a type of bacteria that can make people very sick.
"When you get it you get diarrhea -- often bloody diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps," said Health Department epidemiologist Katherine McCombs.
On Thursday, she told Channel 4 that officials in St. Johns County have been seeing more and more cases of shigella.
The disease is common in children and day cares, but McCombs said it's being seen more in households too.
"There are a lot of children getting it, and that is common to see it in those children and the parents of those children," McCombs said.
She said the bacteria are often found in human waste but can spread among people who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. If there's one message McCombs said she wanted to drive home to the public, it's the importance of hand washing.
"It's out there and can infect anybody and everybody," McCombs warned.
The Health Department said the best way to protect against shigella is washing your hands. The department said anyone experiencing the symptoms brought on by shigella should stay home from work or school and visit a doctor right away.

FDA Statement by Commissioner von Eschenbach on the Release of the Strategic Framework Document on Import Safety

Drinking raw milk is taking a big risk
By Shanderia K. Posey
Source of Article:
I don't think anyone will argue with me that milk does a body good.
Kids are taught as early as 4 years old that drinking milk will give them strong bones and teeth. As a result, they gulp it down in mass proportions. To promote a healthier diet, kids can even opt for milk, regular or chocolate, with most of their fast-food kids' meals, thereby ditching sugary sodas for a serving of calcium. These days, even those who are lactose intolerant don't have to remove milk from their diet. Depending on which brand you buy, there isn't a drastic change in taste whatsoever.
And you can't forget the ever-so-health-conscience, organic-only individuals. They opt for the pricier organic milk that's free of hormones some studies have linked to elevated cancer risk.
One thing's for sure, when it comes to milk, everyone has a preference.

But there is one form of milk the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reminding consumers not to drink - raw milk.
The FDA reports that from 1998 to May 2005 the CDC identified 45 outbreaks of foodborne illness that implicated milk or cheese made from unpasteurized milk. The outbreaks accounted for 1,007 illnesses, 104 hospitalizations and two deaths. The actual number of illnesses was almost certainly higher because not all cases of illness are recognized and reported, according to the FDA.

It's illegal in some states to buy or sell raw milk. In Mississippi, the sale of raw goat's milk is legal. Despite sale restrictions of raw milk for human consumption, those who want it find ways to acquire it, often claiming it's more nutritious and inherently antimicrobial - claims the FDA reports are myths.
Pasteurizing milk removes bacteria responsible for diseases such as campylobacteriosis, tuberculosis and diphtheria and more. Pregnant women, the elderly, infants and those with weakened immune systems are especially encouraged not to drink it.
In the end, drinking raw milk is a matter of choice and personal freedom for proponents of it who are ready to fight to the end to drink what they want.
But it's a choice researchers report could be fatal.

Food Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
09/11. Sanitation Manager - MI-Romulus
09/11. Part-time Microbiologist - OH-Dublin
09/11. Quality Assurance Plant Manager - KS-Atchison
09/11. QA Supervisor To $60K - PA-York/Lancaster
09/11. Food Safety Manager - Japanese Cuisine - New York, NY
09/11. General FOOD SAFETY SPECIALIST - Austin, MN
09/11. FOOD SAFETY MANAGER - Louisville, KY
09/11. Territory Rep - Food Safety - Seattle, WA

Food Safety and Quality Related Job Openings

E. Coli Victim Sues Interstate Meats, Says Company¡¯s Recalled Ground Beef Made Him Sick
Date Published: Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
Source of Article:
An E. coli outbreak in the Pacific Northwest linked to tainted ground beef has resulted in what will surely be the first of several lawsuits. A man from Washington State is suing Interstate Meats of Oregon, claiming that ground beef packaged by the company left him with an E. coli infection that caused him to spend three days in the hospital. Last week, Interstate Meats recalled 41,000 pounds of meat after it was linked to an outbreak of E. coli that left several people sick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), E. coli is one of the leading causes of food borne illness in the U.S. The CDC estimates that the food borne bacteria causes at least 73,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths every year. But the number could be much higher, because many cases of E. coli poisoning are never reported. E. coli is characterized by bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and it can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. In some rare instances, the disease can progress to the point of kidney failure and death. While most people who suffer from E. coli poisoning recover within 7 to 10 days, extreme cases can require blood transfusions and dialysis treatments
The 21-year-old man from King County Washington claims that he became ill shortly after eating ground beef distributed by Interstate Meats under the ¡°Northwest Finest¡± label. His illness was so serious that he had to be admitted to the hospital, where he remained for three days. While his lawyer says he is doing better now, the victim is awaiting results of tests to determine if the E. coli infection has run its course. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for medical bills and pain and suffering.
On August 31, Interstate Meats recalled ground beef sold under the ¡°Northwest Finest¡± label after it was linked to an E. coli outbreak that sickened 9 people in several states. The company¡¯s E. coli contaminated ground beef left five others ill in Washington, and infected two people in Oregon and one person in Idaho. Interstate Meats ultimately recalled 41,300 pounds of meat, including 16-ounce packages of ¡°Northwest Finest 7% FAT, NATURAL GROUND BEEF¡± and ¡°Northwest Finest 10% FAT ORGANIC GROUND BEEF¡± in those three states and Alaska.
E. coli contamination has been responsible for several recalls this year that have involved millions of pounds of meat. In June, United Food Group recalled 5 million pounds of meat. That recall was followed by another that involved 40,000 lbs of E. coli-tainted beef products produced by Tyson Fresh Meat, Inc. Considering that in 2006, E. coli related recalls involved only 156,000 pounds of beef, this year¡¯s numbers are extremely concerning.

2nd International Conference for Food Safety and Quality (Nov. 6-7, 2007), South San Francisco Convention Center

1st International Conference for Food Safety and Quality (Nov. 7-8, 2006)
Major Topic: Current Detection Methods for Microbiological/Chemical Hazards for Food Safety/Quality

ConAgra says recent product worries shouldn't hurt profit outlook
The Associated PressPublished: September 6, 2007
Source of Article:
OMAHA, Nebraska: ConAgra Foods Inc. sought to reassure investors Thursday that consumer concerns about the company's microwave popcorn recipe and a salmonella outbreak that took its Peter Pan peanut butter off the market should not hurt the company's profit outlook.
The Omaha-based company does not anticipate consumer backlash because of recent headlines about its brands, and ConAgra still expects earnings per share of $1.48 for fiscal 2008, officials said at an investor conference.
Earlier this week, ConAgra announced plans to remove a buttery flavoring chemical from its microwave popcorn that has been linked to a lung ailment in popcorn plant workers.
And last month the company returned Peter Pan peanut butter to stores after a six-month absence because the peanut butter was linked to a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 625 people.
ConAgra's executive vice president of research Al Bolles said he does not think popcorn will be a problem for the company because it is planning to remove the flavoring chemical diacetyl from its recipe sometime over the next year.
The chemical diacetyl occurs naturally in foods such as butter, cheese and fruits, and the U.S. government has approved its use as a flavor ingredient.
But it has been linked to cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare life-threatening disease often called popcorn lung. The primary concern with diacetyl is for workers inhaling the chemical in manufacturing settings and not from eating microwave popcorn, according to the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association.
New concerns emerged this week because a doctor at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center warned that consumers, not just workers, could be in danger from the buttery flavoring diacetyl.
"I'll just say that we are very comfortable with the food safety from a consumer standpoint of our product," Bolles said. "It's not going to be an issue for us because we are going to take diacetyl out of all of our popcorn, and we have been aggressively working on that. But there is no reason to be concerned."
The company does not release sales figures for individual products. But ConAgra's microwave popcorn brands, which include Orville Redenbacher and Act II, accounted for nearly 53 percent of the U.S. market for microwave popcorn over the past 12 months, according to the research firm Information Resources Inc. The firm's research doesn't include Wal-Mart stores and membership stores such as Costco.
In some ways, ConAgra's Peter Pan peanut butter faces a bigger challenge because it was missing from store shelves for so long.
ConAgra recalled all its peanut butter in February after government investigators linked a salmonella outbreak to peanut butter ConAgra produced at a Georgia plant.
ConAgra resumed shipping Peter Pan last month. The company faces several lawsuits filed by people who say they became ill after eating Peter Pan.
Dean Hollis, who leads ConAgra's consumer product's division, said he was optimistic about Peter Pan's prospects.
"It's very rewarding to see Peter Pan back on the shelf, so we're excited about that," Hollis said. "All of our consumer research shows the consumer was very excited to have us back. The customers have been phenomenal. And our distribution is actually ahead of where it was before."
ConAgra is planning to release its first-quarter earnings report later this month, so some details of the first peanut butter sales may be available then.
The company said in June that the peanut butter recall cost ConAgra $66 million (¢æ48.28 million) before taxes during its last fiscal year and hurt peanut butter sales, which generated about $92 million (¢æ67.31 million) in revenue in 2007 versus $147 million in 2006. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial predict a profit of $1.49 per share, on average. Conagra's profit outlook excludes one-time items, as do most analyst estimates.
ConAgra also said Thursday that sales for fiscal 2008 to 2010 are expected to grow 2 percent to 3 percent annually and earnings per share for 2009 and 2010 should increase 8 percent to 10 percent per year, excluding one-time items.

Northern Iraq battles cholera, nearly 7000 cases reported
11 Sep 2007 Source of Article:
GENEVA: The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that Iraqi authorties were dealing with an "epidemic" of nearly 7,000 suspected cholera cases in three northeastern provinces. Only 290 cases have been confirmed in laboratory tests, but WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said the agency considered all cases of acute watery diarrhoea should be considered as carrying the "vibrio cholerae" bacteria.
At the end of August, authorities in Sulaimaniyah had reported 2,000 suspected cases and six deaths, while the WHO said another source was found in Kirkuk.
Chaib said Tuesday that six laboratory confirmed cases were also reported in Erbil.
"It is unclear what is the cause of the epidemic," Chaib told journalists. "There is some evidence in Sulaimaniyah... that polluted water on which the local people were forced to rely on may have been to blame, and in Kirkuk a cracked water pipe."
"We are confident that it can be contained," she told journalists. The WHO has sent two truckloads of antibiotics to the region, while the Iraqi government and provincial authorities have also taken measures to combat the disease. The agency is not recommending any special travel or trade restrictions for the affected area, it said in a statement.
Previous cholera outbreaks hit northern Iraq in 1999 and southern areas around Basra shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003

New fast test method developed

By Ahmed ElAmin Source of Article:
10/09/2007 - In a new study, researchers say they have developed a reliable way of testing and analysing large numbers of food samples quickly for possible pathogen contamination.
Processors are constantly on the look out for ways to speeding up the testing of large numbers of products. The faster the test, the quicker they can get product out the door and on to the supply chain.
The research team for the lastest study was led by Renato Zenobi, a professor of analytical chemistry at ETH Zurich.
Their new method is based on tests using what is called a "quadruple time-of-flight" (QTOF) mass spectrometer, a now standard laboratory instrument used for detecting pathogens on surfaces.
The new analysis procedure represents a further development of the method recently published by the group in which the researchers showed they could quickly detect various substances in a simple manner, they claim.
"Using their enhanced method, they can now also very precisely track down substances on surfaces of any kind," according to an ETH Zurich statement.
Zenobi stated that samples for the mass spectrometry method are normally processed in solution. The solution is first electrosprayed, with the additional aid of a desolvation gas.
The tiny droplets give rise to ions that are characteristic of the substance to be analysed and which the QTOF instrument measures. The ETH Zurich researchers have now almost turned the principle on its head, they claim. Instead of studying the substances in the solution, they developed a method to examine the substances present in the desolvation gas assisting the spray.
With the newly-developed method nitrogen is blown from a small nozzle onto a sample surface. As the gas strikes the surface it desorbs semi-volatile substances.
The enriched gas stream is then fed into the mass spectrometer where the absorbed substances can be precisely analysed, they stated.
"There is nothing special about the new method from a technical viewpoint," Zenobi stated.
Huanwen Chen, who developed the method during his post-doctoral studies in Zenobi's group, demonstrated this when together with his supervisor he presented the new method to an unnamed company.
Within one hour Chen had modified their mass spectrometer so that it could be used to analyse the surface of any kind of object, according to Zenobi.
"One particular strength of our approach is that even the surfaces of living organisms can be examined," he stated. "It only takes a few seconds to measure a single sample, so large numbers of random samples can be routinely analysed."
For meat samples the scientists were also able to show that the sample material does not even need to be thawed.
"In view of the numerous possible applications, it is not surprising that the new method is of interest not only to foodstuffs technologists and safety experts but also to medical professionals and drugs investigators in sport," Zenobi stated.
The research is published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie.

Chitosan-glucose combo eyed as novel preservative

By Stephen Daniells Source of Article:
8/30/2007 - The Maillard reaction product of chitosan and glucose extended the shelf-life of lamb in laboratory tests by two weeks, and may offer industry with a novel and efficient preservative for meat products.
Writing in the journal Food Chemistry, lead author Sweetie Kanatt from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai report that by heating chitosan with glucose produces a chitosan-glucose complex (CGC) via the Maillard reaction, and this complex has excellent antioxidant and antimicrobial activity.
"CGC seems to be a novel natural preservative endowed with both antibacterial as well antioxidant activity and may find applications in the food industry," wrote the authors.
Suspicion over chemical-derived synthetic preservatives has pushed food makers to source natural preservatives such as rosemary extract instead, and market analysts Global Information pitch the global food preservative market at ¢æ422.7bn ($575bn), reaching ¢æ522bn ($710bn) by 2008.
The researchers tested the complex's antioxidant activity using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay, and report that the IC50 value of CGC, a measure of the concentration at which 50 per cent of the free radicals are scavenged, was 51.1 micrograms per millilitre.
When testing the antimicrobial activity of the complex against E. coli, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus, the common food spoilage and pathogenic bacteria, Kanatt and co-workers report that the activity of CGC was similar to chitosan, with a minimum inhibition at concentrations of 0.05 per cent.
The researchers then took the step of testing the complex in model meat products, formulating lamb meat and pork cocktail salami. Significant increases in shelf-life are reported, with extensions of 14 and 28 days reported for the products, respectively.

"From the present studies that the chitosan-glucose complex (CGC) is a better preservative than chitosan alone. It showed superior antioxidant activity as compared to chitosan/glucose alone," wrote the researchers.

"The antimicrobial activity of the CGC was identical to that of chitosan against the common food spoilers and pathogens such as E. coli, Pseudomonas spp, S. aureus and B. cereus."

"CGC is endowed with both antioxidant and antimicrobial activity and thus is a promising novel preservative for various food formulations," they concluded.

Source: Food Chemistry (Elsevier)
"Chitosan glucose complex - A novel food preservative"
Authors: S.R. Kanatt, R. Chander, A. Sharma

Safe sanitizer tough on germs
McClatchy Newspapers
Sept. 8, 2007 12:00 AM
Source of Article:
A new type of hard-surface disinfectant promises to be safer for use in the home.
Pure Bioscience's Germ Control 24 uses a silver-based disinfectant called silver dihydrogen citrate. It's non-toxic to humans and animals, but it kills a broad spectrum of bacteria, fungi and viruses.
The product works in as little as 30 seconds on microbes including listeria and staph, although other types take longer - influenza takes 10 minutes, for example, and herpes simplex takes 11. The product is non-corrosive and non-flammable.
Germ Control 24 is sold at Home Depot for $4 for a 32-ounce bottle and $12 for a 1-gallon container.

Online Ammonia Monitor helps ensure food safety
Source of Article:

September 10, 2007 - Used with ammonia-water absorption refrigeration cooler systems, Q45N Dissolved Ammonia Monitor helps allay concerns about food contamination. It uses reaction chemistry to convert ammonia in solution to stable monochloramine compound, which is measured with amperometric sensor. Sample is inherently subjected to biocidal conditions, eliminating long term biofouling on sensor, and measurement stability negates needed for complicated automatic calibration systems.
ATi's New Q45N Dissolved Ammonia Monitor Offers a New Approach for Ammonia Water Absorption Systems
(September 3, 2007) Analytical Technology (ATi) has announced that its ground-breaking Q45N Dissolved Ammonia Monitor can be used with ammonia-water absorption refrigeration cooler systems. A completely new approach to on-line monitoring of ammonia, the Q45N dissolved ammonia monitor can be used in a wide range of applications including waste water treatment, potable water treatment, river and stream water quality and refrigeration coolers.

Many refrigeration cooler systems use ammonia-based heat exchangers. These ammonia chillers are used in a variety of applications including dairies, breweries and beverage manufacturers. Widely used in the 1960s, ammonia-water absorption refrigeration cooler systems fell in popularity due to low efficiencies and safety concerns: leaks in the heat exchanger can cause ammonia to escape into the water supply. However, the technology has now evolved to nearly double the efficiency of old systems, leading to their gain in popularity.

Concerns about the safety of using ammonia, especially where ammonia contamination of food products is a risk, can be allayed by using the ATi Q45N Dissolved Water Monitor. Continuous monitoring of ammonia in water and waste water streams is becoming increasingly important for plant operations and process control yet conventional on-line monitors can be expensive, complex and labour-intensive. In the food and beverage industries, safety is allied with cost and efficiency as one of the paramount concerns.

The Q45N Dissolved Ammonia Monitor from ATi uses reaction chemistry to convert ammonia in a solution to a stable monochloramine compound which is then measured with a unique amperometric sensor. ATi's Q45N monitoring package provides the measurement stability needed to avoid complicated automatic calibration systems and, thanks to ATi's technology, the amperometric sensor provides excellent repeatability over long periods of time. As the measurement utilises chloramine conversion for measurement, the sample is inherently subjected to biocidal conditions, eliminating long term biofouling on the sensor.

Dr. Michael Strahand, General Manager Europe at ATi, explains "ATi's new ammonia monitor represents a major step forward in providing users with a system that is both simple to use and economical to purchase. The ATi Q45N monitor allows reliable, sensitive, low cost measurement of ammonia in waste water products to alert users to any potential contamination."

For more information about ATi's Q45N Dissolved Ammonia Monitor or any other ATi products please call +44 1457 832800, e-mail or visit:

Media for New Harmonized Microbiology: Microbial Limits Test
source from:
After years of discussion between microbiologists in the US, Europe and Japan there is now for the first time ever a harmonized testing procedure available for microbiological quality control. In the future, these Pharmacopoeia methods will use identical media, test organisms and performance test parameters in the US, in Europe and Japan.

Until these methods become official all Pharmacopoeias have allowed a transition time, e. g. the European Pharmacopoeia have proposed that the (old) Ph. Eur. method will remain the official valid method until 31st December 2008 while the methods in US Pharmacopoeia stay valid until 30th. April 2009.

Before harmonization comes into effect, pharmaceutical laboratories must present evidence for registered products that the new methods are suitable to replace the current methods. At least for Europe and the US, after the deadlines described above, only the new harmonized methods will be the official EP/US Pharmacopoeia methods.

Not only already registered pharmaceutical products but also not yet released products have to be tested according to the new methods. As a consequence the harmonization requires that pharmaceutical companies revalidate each manufactured pharmaceutical product.
Usually three batches of each pharmaceutical product and not three batches of the culture media are used for this procedure.
In order to meet the criteria of the harmonized Pharmacopoeia Merck has implemented:
The composition of the culture media as per the new USP chapter <62> and new EP chapter 2.6.13.Changes of existing culture media to be compliant with the pharmacopoeia requirements and introduction of new media to the pharma market (e.g. RVS, EE broth and XLD Agar).Quality control testing methods and specifications according to the new harmonized methods.This process is now completed and Merck can currently offer to all pharmaceutical customers a product portfolio meeting the requirements of the new harmonized microbiology microbial limits test methods.

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